The Canadian egg industry is getting a CA$844,000 (US$637,950) boost from the federal government.

Lawrence MacAulay, the minister of Canada’s Agriculture and Agri-Food agency, announced in a press release issued on July 3 that the agency is allocating the money to assist with the development of an electronic scan to determine the gender and fertility of eggs, helping to increase the capacity and efficiencies of hatcheries. The grant is being awarded to Egg Farmers of Ontario (EFO), a not-for-profit organization that supports the control and regulation of eggs and pullets in Ontario.

With the funding, EFO will study ways to minimize waste and take a major step forward to address animal welfare matters.

“The Canadian egg industry is driving our economy and creating good jobs. The Government of Canada is proud to support the Egg Farmers of Ontario for this first-of-its-kind study that will make Canada a world leader in animal welfare. This investment will help pilot a solution that will be welcomed both in Canada and around the world and will keep the egg industry strong and growing,” MacAulay stated.

Roger Pelissero, chairman of Egg Farmers of Canada, added: “With today’s announcement, the government has taken a significant step in supporting innovation in Canada’s egg sector. This investment in cutting-edge research offers new technology and processes that will help continuously improve and strengthen the entire egg supply chain – in Canada and around the world.”

According to the press release, the current project is likely to lead to the commercial adoption of the imaging technology that enables eggs to be non-invasively scanned soon after they are laid.

The project is supported by the Canadian Agricultureal Adaptation Program (CAAP), a funding initiative that helps the farming sector to remain competitive by piloting solutions to new and ongoing challenges.

The Canadian egg industry, according to the government’s agriculture agency, employs more than 17,000 people and contributes more than CA$1 billion annually to the Canadian economy.